Sheryl Sandberg is stepping down because the chief working officer of Fb’s mother or father firm Meta after 14 years, a serious shake-up through which chief government Mark Zuckerberg will lose one in every of his closest lieutenants.
Sandberg, one of many firm’s most high-profile executives, will depart the enterprise “within the fall” after a transition interval, whereas remaining on Meta’s board, she stated.
In a publish on her Fb web page on Wednesday, Sandberg didn’t define her causes for quitting the corporate, which she helped develop from a start-up with no income right into a digital promoting behemoth. She stated she was “not completely positive what the longer term will convey” however that she wished to focus extra on her philanthropic endeavours.
Javier Olivan, one other longtime worker who’s the corporate’s chief development officer, will tackle the working officer place.
Zuckerberg known as the transfer the “finish of an period”, including in his personal lengthy Fb publish that Sandberg, 52, had “architected our adverts enterprise, employed nice folks, solid our administration tradition and taught me methods to run an organization”.
The surprising departure of Sandberg, a polarising determine whose tenure has been plagued by controversies, comes as a tough time for Fb. The corporate has been battling a number of scandals, together with current whistleblower accusations that it routinely locations “revenue over security”, in addition to a slowdown in development as competitors rises.
Shares within the firm, which fell virtually 3 per cent after Sandberg’s departure was introduced, have fallen almost 45 per cent within the yr thus far.
Sandberg, a Harvard graduate, joined Fb in 2008. Earlier than that she labored for then US Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers underneath then-president Invoice Clinton and later grew Google’s promoting enterprise as its vice-president of world on-line gross sales and operations.
Forged because the “grownup within the room” when becoming a member of Zuckerberg’s staff of 20-somethings on the time, Sandberg is credited with driving the monetisation of the enterprise, which floated publicly in 2012 and generated $117bn in income in 2021.
Throughout her tenure, she positioned herself as an advocate for girls within the office, writing the fashionable feminist call-to-arms Lean In. She additionally introduced herself as a champion for small companies utilizing Fb to develop.
However she has additionally been caught within the quite a few scandals over privateness and content material moderation, amongst others, which have rocked the corporate in recent times.
Due to her function in constructing Fb’s adverts empire, critics have held her partly answerable for the Cambridge Analytica information privateness scandal, in addition to the Russian disinformation campaigns uncovered on the platform after the 2016 US election and the broader proliferation of hate speech and misinformation.
As a public determine who as soon as frequently met with lawmakers and regulators, she was typically fast to defend the corporate — with blended outcomes.
Final yr, she prompted a backlash for minimising the notion that Fb performed a task within the occasions resulting in the January 6 storming of the US Capitol, arguing that it was “largely” organised on different platforms.
Zuckerberg stated Olivan will tackle a “extra conventional COO function” through which he will probably be “centered internally and operationally, constructing on his sturdy report of creating our execution extra environment friendly and rigorous”.
He additionally introduced a number of different promotions as a part of a wider reshuffle within the wake of Sandberg’s departure. “I feel Meta has reached the purpose the place it is smart for our product and enterprise teams to be extra carefully built-in, quite than having all of the enterprise and operations capabilities organised individually from our merchandise,” Zuckerberg stated.
A sequence of executives have left Meta not too long ago, together with David Marcus, head of its monetary arm, and David Fischer, who was chief income officer.
The upheaval comes as Zuckerberg has shifted the corporate’s focus to his imaginative and prescient for the metaverse, a web based shared digital house stuffed with digital avatars, because the tempo of its person development and adverts enterprise has slowed.
Insiders say Sandberg, a staunch Democrat who typically acted as Fb’s consultant in coping with the political get together, has lengthy harboured political ambitions.
Nonetheless, politics additionally possible contributed to current tensions between Sandberg and Zuckerberg over content material moderation points, in keeping with a former government, with Sandberg favouring tighter moderation and Zuckerberg advocating that the platform shouldn’t be the “arbiter of reality”.
Each Zuckerberg and Sandberg have stepped away from the limelight not too long ago, with former UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg taking up an expanded function as Meta’s coverage chief.
In an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday, Sandberg stated it was “fairly unlikely” that she would take one other job in enterprise or enter politics. However, she added: “I discovered a very long time in the past — by no means make any predictions concerning the future.”
She stated she made the choice to go away the corporate final weekend and knowledgeable Zuckerberg. In her Fb publish, Sandberg additionally stated she deliberate to get married this summer season. Her first husband, Dave Goldberg, the previous chief government of SurveyMonkey, died in 2015.
“The talk round social media has modified past recognition since these early days. To say it hasn’t all the time been straightforward is an understatement,” she stated in her Fb publish. “However it needs to be laborious. The merchandise we make have a huge effect, so we now have the accountability to construct them in a method that protects privateness and retains folks secure.”
Video: Nick Clegg’s first interview within the metaverse